Written by Superintendent Darryl Seguin
Published with permission of The Lethbridge Herald
About this time last year, many of us were scrambling, trying to adapt to the changes in our world that we never imagined we would be dealing with. Work, sports, fine arts and school were among the familiar routines that dramatically changed, almost as if we woke up in the twilight zone. Toilet paper became the new gold and suddenly hand sanitizer seemed to be everywhere. Parents and educators felt helpless as thousands of grade 12 students broken-heartedly wondered if they would have any kind of graduation ceremony at all, much less the one they had always dreamt about.
Yes, life has been difficult, if there is one thing, however, that we have been reminded of in the past year, it is the incredible ability of our young people to not only adapt to changing and challenging circumstances, but to innovate, transform and create well beyond what seems possible. Thanks to the willing support from parents, communities and educators, student ideas for graduations came to life, with everything from graduation parades and outdoor drive-in ceremonies to virtual ceremonies and at-home deliveries of certificates and congratulations by encouraging educators.
Class of 2021, you too will likely experience a less than traditional graduation ceremony, and you know what? That is okay. You are about to embark on an entirely new journey during which you will often need to adapt and innovate to build a life that works and fits you. How will you do this? What values will you lean into to find happiness and success in your life?
One of the main values associated with Walt Disney’s formula for success is curiosity. Quoted at the end of Meet the Robinson’s, Disney says, “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we are curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Some may say that curiosity killed the cat, but I tend to agree with Disney. Curiosity can be a wonderful tool to help you create the life you would like to have.
From my earliest memories, I loved everything to do with sports. I watched every sporting event I could. I was amazed at the athletic skill, the physical gifts and the extensive knowledge displayed by the athletes. I dreamt of being like them. My curiosity about athletics led me to spend a considerable amount of time at the local ball diamond, hockey rink and gymnasium. As I got older, I spent hours studying rules, practicing drills and playing on teams. I listened to sports commentators, my coaches and others who knew the game so that I could gain more knowledge and become a better player. Because of my avid curiosity about sports, I obtained a B.Ed. degree in physical education and was blessed to teach and coach many young people. I have watched how curiosity opened up new possibilities, led to development of talents and set so many students on a path to lifelong learning and success.
To the Class of 2021, and to all future classes, at the beginning of this graduation season, I encourage you embrace your curiosity. Ask questions; be interested; be willing; challenge yourself; try new things, and let life be the adventure it should be. I wish you all the best!